Amid widespread concern that the Gifted & Talented program statewide could be in jeopardy, a Lafayette state representative and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member for southwest Louisiana will host an open meeting to discuss the program.
State Rep. Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette, and BESE member Dale Bayard (District 7) will answer questions at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the South Regional Library at 6101 Johnston St. Other area elected officials are also expected to attend.
An uproar swept through the G/T community recently when changes to the program were proposed by the state association that represents special education coordinators. Currently, G/T is administered through the special-ed program in Louisiana, entitling each G/T student to an Individualized Education Program, which is federally mandated for all special-ed students. Special education coordinators want to pull G/T out from the special-ed umbrella, which could end the IEP entitlement for G/T students and, as a result, the requirement that parish school board’s make programs, facilities and specialized teachers available to them. The push to remove G/T from special-ed is coming mainly from poor, rural school districts, which have few G/T students and which view G/T as a financial strain.
But Bayard, in a Sept. 30 article, “Gifted, Talented and Under Siege
,” told The Independent
, “I am absolutely against changing the Gifted and Talented Program.” Bayard also said he didn’t believe there were enough votes on the BESE to entertain any changes to G/T.
“There has been an overwhelming response to the proposed changes to the Gifted and Talented program,” Landry says in a press release announcing Monday’s meeting. “This meeting will allow concerned parents and people who support quality education to get accurate information about what is happening.”